Bright Future: Solar Power as a Major Contributor to the U.S. Grid

Paul Denholm, Robert Margolis, Trieu Mai, Greg Brinkman, Easan Drury, Maureen Hand, Matthew Mowers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus Citations


The decreased costs of solar technologies have led to the prospect of a shift for photovoltaic (PV ) and concentrating solar power (CSP ) from premium applications to major contributors to the US electricity grid. This development has motivated a number of techno-economic analyses of the potential deployment of both PV and CSP under varying economic conditions. Two studies sponsored by the US Department of Energy (DOE ) and completed in 2012 can help in understanding the potential opportunities and challenges for solar deployment on a large scale. The SunShot Vision study has evaluated the potential impact of achieving very low-cost solar technologies, while the Renewable Electricity Futures study (RE Futures) study has analyzed the grid benefits and impacts of providing up to 90% of the nation's electricity from renewables. The two studies demonstrate that solar technologies can play a significant role in the country's electricity system in the future.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number6466540
Pages (from-to)22-32
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Power and Energy Magazine
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2013

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-6A20-57243


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